foreign minister Simon Coveney has condemned the bomb hoax as “a shameful echo of a darker time” at an event he attended in Belfast.
The van driver had to drive a device he believed to be a bomb to Holy Cross Church during the March 25 incident.
Mr Coveney, commenting on the incident for the first time, today warns that this type of action “does not advance the cause of any community”.
The event was held to commemorate John Hume – who, as Mr Coveney pointed out, had won a joint Nobel Peace Prize with David Trimble.
writing in Irish Independent, says Mr. Coveney: “I was there to share the profound legacy of John and Pat Hume as peacemakers and pioneers of reconciliation. This event was suspended shortly after it started. A local electrician was kidnapped by two men at gunpoint.”
The victim was forced to drive his van “with what he believed was an explosive device” to a place where nearly 100 people had gathered.
Warned by security, Mr. Coveney left the memorial service mid-speech.
Today he writes that the meeting took place next to the Holy Cross Church, where a family funeral was taking place.
“As a result, an event on reconciliation was postponed, a man was traumatized and a grieving family had to pray in a parking lot,” he says.
The scam was alleged by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in protest at the Northern Ireland Protocol and a claimed border in the Irish Sea.
But Mr. Coveney says the fear involved no defense of principle.
“What I wanted to say that day was that the Good Friday Agreement was achieved by everyone and belongs to all of us,” he writes. “That doesn’t have to mean just tolerance, but real respect.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/simon-coveney-condemns-bomb-hoax-as-shameful-echo-of-a-darker-time-41517479.html Simon Coveney condemns bomb hoax as ‘shameful echo of a darker time’